Observations of the evolution of the nocturnal and convective boundary layers and the structure of open-celled convection on 14 June 2002

Lindsay J. Bennett, Tammy M. Weckwerth, Alan M. Blyth, Bart Geerts, Qun Miao, Yvette P. Richardson

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23 Scopus citations


The Boundary Layer Evolution (BLE) missions of the International H2O Project (IHOP_2002) were designed to provide comprehensive observations of the distribution of water vapor in the quiescent boundary layer and its evolution during the early morning. The case study discussed in this paper presents detailed observations of the development of the boundary layer from before sunrise through to the period of growth of the mature convective boundary layer (CBL) during the 14 June 2002 BLE mission. The large number of remote sensing platforms, including the multiple instruments collocated at the Homestead Profiling Site, provided a detailed set of measurements of the growth and structure of the CBL. The observations describe the classic evolution of a daytime CBL, beginning with a shallow nocturnal boundary layer (NBL) below the remnants of the previous day's mixed layer, or residual layer. The vertical distribution of humidity in these layers during the early morning was affected by advection of dry air and by gravity waves. About an hour after sunrise a CBL developed, and gradually deepened with time as it mixed out the NBL and residual layer. The growth of the top of the CBL was particularly well observed because of the strong vertical gradients in temperature, humidity, and aerosol concentration. As the CBL deepened and the average CBL wind speed decreased, the mode of convective organization evolved from horizontal convective rolls to open-celled convection. A unique set of detailed measurements of the structure of the open cells was obtained from multiple instruments including the Doppler-on-Wheels radar, the Mobile Integrated Profiling System wind profiler, and the Scanning Raman lidar. They showed the relationship between open cells, thermals, mantle echoes, and the CBL top.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2589-2607
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Weather Review
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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